I’m finished. I just completed my final edit of my novel.
Is it done? Who knows. All I can say is that it’s as done as I can do.
When people make movies, build buildings, birth babies, or cook for crowds, they have help, they communicate with others during the process. But I wrote this thing alone, without a writing group or an editor or a teacher or a mentor to guide me. For years, I have had no idea where I am or what the hell I’m doing. I feel like a part of my brain has been in solitary confinement for far too long. I have squandered my last introverted tendency and sucked every last drop of self confidence. If this thing has any merit, someone else will have to step in now to take it to the next level.
Last time I tried to find an agent, the process was agonizing and intensely personal but this time, I feel oddly blasé. I’m ready to toss this pile of paper in the recycling bin so there’s room for something else in my life. A bonfire might be fun. It’s not unlike how I’m feeling about the election: whatever happens, at least it will be over. Instead of hope or anxiety, I feel a huge relief.
Or I will after I do this:
1. Go to AgentQuery.com to do a full search.
2. Hover over “offbeat/quirky” and “chick-lit” but check the boxes “commercial fiction” and “literary fiction” (even though I’m not completely sure my novel falls into any of these categories) and say yes to “accepts email submissions” and “seeking new clients.”
3. Press enter. Voila. 211 names. 211!
4. Collect all the dice from the board games on the shelf. Roll and add: 29.
5. Send letters of inquiry to 29 of these people. Choose the ones with names I like.
And then I can breathe deeply and move on.
(I feel lighter already. My cat, who was sleeping a moment ago, just lifted her head to look at me. A train whistles in the distance, a longing low that reminds me of the world outside. I lean back in my chair and look up at the skylight and suddenly, it feels like more than a window: a passage, an opening, an eye. My focus struggles to catch the clouds. It’s so big out there and so flat, a gray ocean churning over my head with bodies of bright blue that seethe to the surface like giant fishes. The house groans a little, as if the ground is shifting. Somewhere out there, the crows are calling.)
What are you looking forward to? What’s next for you?